December 12, 2005

Sneaky sneaky: the AP does it again

Tip o'the tam to His Rottiness for pointing to an Associated Press article at SeeBS"news".com.

Integrity seems to have been the "word of the year" over at Marriam~Webster's online dictionary. But that's not what's interesting about the AP Article. Not by a longshot.

Some of the other Top 10 most looked-up words in 2005 were tsunami, fillibuster and levee.

"Filibuster" gained in popularity as Democrats threatened to use it to block federal judicial nominees, and "contempt" drew plenty of attention when former New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to reveal a source in the CIA leak case.

The election of a new pope following the death of John Paul II left thousands wondering exactly what a conclave is, and news about the spread of infectious diseases brought up the term "pandemic."

While those are perfectly understandable, one word that made the Top 10 was insipid. Why?
Immediately after Simon Cowell, the acid-tongued host of the popular television show "American Idol," called one aspiring singer "insipid," Merriam-Webster noticed a dramatic spike in the number of lookups for the word, which the dictionary defines as "lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate or challenge: dull, flat."

"This guy hit exactly the right word for the performance and it resonated," Morse said. "People engaged the word, but they asked themselves `what does it exactly mean?"'

Okay, fine. But what about the word inept coming in at #10? Seems likely that that'd be yet another Simon Cowell-inspired look-see? But, according to AP, as slipped into the middle of the article:
No. 10 on the list is "inept," a word that Morse said was getting a lot of attention in the days after President Bush delivered a live prime time news conference that came to an awkward end when some television networks cut him off to return to their regularly scheduled programs.

Ummm... huh? What's the connection? Would people watching the President's press conference -- and even caring that it was interupted -- wonder what the word inept means?

Not bloody likely. This was most likely, imo, A) another American Idol Simon smackdown moment that sent a bunch of curious teenagers, et al, in search of it's precise meaning and B) a sly and cynical attempt to connect the words Bush and inept in an otherwise innocuous piece about peeple looking up wurdz.

I mean, the President gets bumped and people rush to look up inept? Rediculous.

Posted by Tuning Spork at December 12, 2005 09:03 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Site Meter